Born in Lake Jackson, Texas on April 16, 1971, Selena Quintanilla-Perez would come to be known as the “Queen of Tejano music.” With the help of different sources to provide evidence and support to my argument, the aim of this paper is to examine how Tejana singer, Selena was able to impact those around her with her career as a musician and through the medium of music. Selena rose to success by continuously crossing over to different markets. She not only impacted her fans one by one, but also brought about social and cultural changes by fleshing out tensions between Anglo and Latino communities by bringing people together through music. Selena Quintanilla was born to Abraham Quintanilla, Jr. and Marcella Samora, both second-generation Mexican-Americans (Patoski 4). Abraham, also known as Abe, was born and raised in South Texas, while Selena’s mother, Marcella was from Washington State (Patoski 4). In high school, Abe cultivated his passion for music when he joined the Dinos, and pursued a musical career with his band up until things were put on pause when he was drafted into active duty. Stationed in Fort Lewis, Washington, Abraham met Marcella, and after courting for two years, the two married on June 8, 1963 (Patoski 20-21). From then on, Abraham and Marcella’s family started to grow with the birth of their son Abraham (A.B.) Quintanilla III on December 13, 1963. However, struggles soon shadowed the Quintanilla family as Abe found it difficult to make ends meet, and ultimately drove the budding family back to Corpus Christi, Texas (Patoski 21). Back in Texas, the Dinos had been waiting for Abe’s return, but Abe soon realized that the rules of the music game were not the same as he left it. Audiences were expecting more Spanish flavor from the group than the usual doo-wop that they sang: “Play Spanish music,” a voice yelled.
“Who do you think you are, gringos or something?”
The Dinos were all Mexican-Americans. The music they sang was in English. Neither was acceptable to the crowd that had paid their money at the door. “We didn’t know any Mexican music and were just singing doo-wop,” Abe later recalled. ‘Pretty soon, the whole dance was in an uprising over it. They closed the dance and refunded money (Patoski 21). Johnny Herrera, an owner of a little record shop called House of Music, advised the Dinos, “to get into the Mexican market.” Even though singing in English may come naturally to the boys, in order to survive, they would have to start singing in Spanish (Patoski 25). The Dinos, wanting to continue pursuing music, started changing their musical style in order to survive in the industry, even changing their name to Los Dinos to become more Mexican in nature (Patoski 26). With the changes made, Los Dinos was able to sign with a few labels such as Falcon Records and Bernal Records (Patoski 27).
While Abraham was pursuing his musical career, back at home, Marcella gave birth to their second child, a daughter on June 29, 1967, and named her Suzette Michelle Quintanilla (Patoski 27). Abraham found it difficult to stay on the road with bills mounting up and a family back home. After almost fifteen years of devoting himself to music, Abe realized that it was time for him to leave it all behind and settle down. As hard as it was to step away from his relationship with music at the peak of his career, he would soon realize that he could fulfill his dreams in another way.
Less than a year after Abraham Quintanilla moved his family to Lake Jackson, Texas where he was employed at Dow Chemical Company, the world’s largest petrochemical refinery, Abraham and Marcella welcomed their third child, Selena Quintanilla. (Patoski 29-30).
Born on April 16, 1971, Selena Quintanilla was a bundle of energy. She possessed something special, and it was evident to all who saw her: “Everyone had a feeling that she was destined to be more than the average child. She was so beautiful. She was vibrant… she always had a twinkle in her...
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